With California employers now grappling with remote workforces, all the time and effort spent ensuring compliance with sick leave legislation – particularly at the local level – should be re-visited. For example, let’s say an employer has physical office locations in Ventura County and Orange County, and therefore has been subject to and complied with only the state sick leave law, as there are no local ordinances in those areas. However, with that employer’s office locations closed, all of the approximately 300 employees have been working remotely since March. The employer reviews the home locations of its employees and learns that they live not only in Ventura and Orange Counties, but also in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and even San Diego. The latter three cities each have their own local sick leave ordinance that applies to most employees who work within the geographic boundaries of the city, requiring the employer to consider whether there are new or additional sick leave requirements that apply to some of its employees.

In light of the patchwork of sick leave legislation at both the state and local level, it should also come as no surprise to employers that the COVID-19 supplemental sick leave mandates have gone into effect in similar fashion.

For California employers trying to stay on top of compliance with the evolving and increasing sick leave mandates, this article identifies the laws and ordinances that are on the books as of today and provides helpful links (where available).

‘Regular’ Sick Leave Laws and Ordinances

  1. State of California (AB 1522) – text of the law, guidance and FAQs from the Labor Commissioner
  2. City of Berkeleyguidance from the City’s Housing and Community Services Department (including text of the ordinance and FAQs)
  3. City of Emeryvilleguidance from the City’s Community Development Department (including text of the ordinance, Regulations, and FAQs)
  4. City of Los Angelesguidance from the City’s Office of Wage Standards (including text of the ordinance, Rules and Regulations, and FAQs)
  5. City of Oaklandguidance from the City’s Contract & Compliance Unit (including text of the ordinance and FAQs)
  6. City of San Diegoguidance from the City Treasurer’s Minimum Wage Program (including text of the ordinance and FAQs)
  7. City and County of San Franciscoguidance from the City’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (including text of the ordinance, Rules, and FAQs)
  8. City of Santa Monicaguidance from the City’s website (including text of the ordinance and FAQs)

COVID-19 Supplemental Sick Leave Laws and Ordinances

  1. State of California (AB 1867) – text of the law (which supersedes the executive order applicable to food sector workers) and FAQs from the Labor Commissioner; you can also check out GT’s Fast Facts regarding this law: Fast Facts – California’s Statewide COVID-19 Supplemental Sick Leave Law.
  2. City of Long Beachtext of the ordinance
  3. City of Los Angeles guidance from the City’s Office of Wage Standards (including text of the ordinance and Rules and Regulations)
  4. Los Angeles County (unincorporated areas)text of the ordinance
  5. City of Oakland – text of the ordinance
  6. City of Sacramentotext of the ordinance
  7. Sacramento County (unincorporated areas) – text of the ordinance
  8. City and County of San Francisco (City)guidance from the City’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (including text of the ordinance and FAQs)
  9. City of San Jose – text of the ordinance
  10. San Mateo County (unincorporated areas) text of the ordinance
  11. City of Santa Rosa – text of the ordinance
  12. Sonoma County (unincorporated areas) text of ordinance

San Diego is not included on this list because at the time the San Diego City Council considered its own supplemental sick leave ordinance, there was a simultaneous application to prevent its adoption if a related law, Assembly Bill 1867, went into effect.1 We confirmed with the City Attorney’s office that in light of the passage of AB 1867, the City ordinance will not be brought back for a second reading, and therefore will not go into effect. AB 1867, summarized in “Fast Facts – California’s Statewide COVID-19 Supplemental Sick Leave Law,” provides supplemental sick leave to employees whose employers are not covered under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. In other words, if the state of California had failed to fill the FFCRA gap, San Diego would have stepped in and done so. The passage of AB 1867, though, avoided this.

As to whether there’s more to come with supplemental COVID-related sick leave entitlements, California’s new law does not preempt existing or future local ordinances. As such, it remains to be seen whether or how other localities will respond. If history is any guide, we know that passage of AB 1522 in July 2015 certainly did not stop localities from implementing local sick leave ordinances with richer leave entitlements, despite the fact that AB 1522 provided most employees in California (with some exceptions) with at least 3 days (or 24 hours) of paid sick leave every year. With the passage of the state law, the gap in coverage for employees of large employers that had previously been filled by the localities above has now been filled. It’s still possible that localities may improve upon the state leave entitlement in some way – e.g., provide more than 80 hours, allow employees to use paid leave for more reasons than the state law provides, or require payment of supplemental sick leave at a higher rate of pay.


1 See Special City Council Meeting Results Summary for September 8, 2020 Council Meeting,

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Photo of Ellen M. Bandel Ellen M. Bandel

Ellen M. Bandel is an associate in the Labor and Employment practice, advising unionized and union-free employers on all aspects of labor and employment law. Specifically, Ellen counsels employers on a range of workplace issues including recruitment; development of handbooks and employment policies…

Ellen M. Bandel is an associate in the Labor and Employment practice, advising unionized and union-free employers on all aspects of labor and employment law. Specifically, Ellen counsels employers on a range of workplace issues including recruitment; development of handbooks and employment policies; employee performance and discipline; administering paid and unpaid time off policies and leaves of absence; compliance with wage and hour and disability accommodation laws; proper handling of employee complaints; workplace audits and investigations; workforce reductions; and mitigating risk associated with employee terminations. Ellen has wide-ranging experience advising employers on compliance with employment legislation “trending” at the state and local level, including paid sick leave laws, legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, pre-employment restrictions relating to use of criminal history or prior salary information, predictable work schedule requirements, and paid medical leaves.

Ellen also represents clients in federal, state, and local administrative proceedings. Additionally, she assists government contractors subject to requirements of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) with the design and implementation of affirmative action programs and navigating the compliance review process.

Photo of Charles O. Thompson Charles O. Thompson

Charles Thompson focuses his practice on employment litigation and counseling representing clients through all phases of Class Actions and Single Plaintiff cases. Charles has wide-ranging experience litigating employment-related issues for public and private companies, having handled over 1,000 employment matters for clients ranging

Charles Thompson focuses his practice on employment litigation and counseling representing clients through all phases of Class Actions and Single Plaintiff cases. Charles has wide-ranging experience litigating employment-related issues for public and private companies, having handled over 1,000 employment matters for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to Silicon Valley startups. He has tried employment, commercial, and professional liability cases to verdict and directed verdict, and has litigated and appealed cases from California State Courts to the United States Supreme Court.

Charles represents employers in wage and hour cases, as well as EEOC class actions, in state and federal courts across the United States and has broad experience appearing before the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the Employment Development Department, and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor.

In addition to his trial and counseling work, Charles serves as a private and judicial mediator and arbitrator, and has acted as a pro-tem judge upon request of the court. He has broad experience in binding arbitrations and trial. He has taught trial advocacy, diversity, employment and substance abuse to clients and industry organizations.

Throughout his career, Charles has been a champion for diversity and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the board of Directors for the Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco. He actively supports and promotes diversity efforts and collaborates with clients on diversity issues.